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[mak-suh-muh m] /ˈmæk sə məm/
noun, plural maximums, maxima
[mak-suh-muh] /ˈmæk sə mə/ (Show IPA)
the greatest quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, etc.
the highest amount, value, or degree attained or recorded.
an upper limit allowed or allowable by law or regulation.
  1. Also called relative maximum, local maximum. the value of a function at a certain point in its domain, which is greater than or equal to the values at all other points in the immediate vicinity of the point.
  2. the point in the domain at which a maximum occurs.
that is a maximum; greatest or highest possible or attained:
maximum satisfaction; maximum temperature.
pertaining to a maximum or maximums.
Origin of maximum
1730-40; < Latin, noun use of neuter of maximus, superlative of magnus great, large
Related forms
maximumly, adverb
submaximum, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for maximum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How to inflict the maximum of discomfort upon M. Destournelle with the minimum of risk to herself was the question.

  • Also the present sunspot cycle started its rise to maximum about 1954.

    Disturbing Sun Robert Shirley Richardson
  • Litaku, Kurrichani, and other similar towns are Sichuana; the Kaffre civilization being said to attain its maximum hereabouts.

  • The deflection of the centers at the crown was a maximum of 3¼ ins.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • The most efficient mixer is the one that gives the maximum product of standard quality at the least cost for production.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
British Dictionary definitions for maximum


noun (pl) -mums, -ma (-mə)
the greatest possible amount, degree, etc
the highest value of a variable quantity
  1. a value of a function that is greater than any neighbouring value
  2. a stationary point on a curve at which the tangent changes from a positive value on the left of this point to a negative value on the right Compare minimum (sense 4)
  3. the largest number in a set
  1. the time at which the brightness of a variable star has its greatest value
  2. the magnitude of the star at that time
of, being, or showing a maximum or maximums
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: greatest (the neuter form used as noun), from magnus great
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for maximum

1740, from French maximum and directly from Latin maximum (plural maxima), neuter of maximus "greatest," which is superlative of magnus "great, large" (see magnum).


1834, from maximum (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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maximum in Medicine

maximum max·i·mum (māk'sə-məm)
n. pl. max·i·mums or max·i·ma (-mə)

  1. The greatest possible quantity or degree.

  2. The greatest quantity or degree reached or recorded; the upper limit of variation.

  3. The time or period during which the highest point or degree is attained.

  1. Having or being the greatest quantity or the highest degree attained or attainable.

  2. Of, relating to, or making up a maximum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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maximum in Science
Plural maximums or maxima
  1. The greatest known or greatest possible number, measure, quantity, or degree.

  2. The greatest value of a mathematical function, if it has such a value.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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